where i stand Where’s the plan to ease I-84 traffic?
With all the discussion on transportation infrastructure, tolls, and transit, it’s time we put back on the radar the grievances of I-84 in Danbury.
Maybe I am missing something, but despite all the past talks about improving it, I see no visible signs of construction in the day-to-day, either westbound toward New York or eastbound toward Waterbury. And yet, the traffic delays continue to grow, adding to the tedium and frustration of daily commutes.
I, for one, have an hour-plus ride to work in one direction, and often the worst part of it is Danbury; from Super 7 in Brookfield to the mall at Exit 3, this short stretch of road adds 20 minutes to half-an-hour onto an already long trip, and it’s the same thing in reverse coming home in the evening — matter how early I leave in the morning or how early I leave work. And now with proposals to put tolls in, I fear that existing issues could become worse and resemble the problems of I-95.
Aside from dangerous merges with no yield signs and bumper-to-bumper delays, I-84 in Danbury has a lot of wasted space: grassy medians that are bigger than the road itself and shoulders that are wide enough to be extra lanes. It also causes backups on I-684 in New York State for northbound drivers coming home in the evening.
In the past, adding lanes onto I-84 did help, as well as widening Route 7 and building the bypass between Brookfield and New Milford. However, housing and business development in the area is much more rapid than improvement to the roads, so without a long-term plan, we end up with the exact same gridlock problems as before.
Alternatives are sparse as there is no passenger rail service in New Milford, and no express rail service between Danbury and Stamford. Moving closer to work is not always an option, especially if one works in a high-rent district. Rideshares only work if you know residents who work in the same place you do and who have the same schedule.
In lieu of flex time and working from home options in the future, the most logical next steps are to address how to alleviate congestion in this area before tolls are installed. Sitting in idling traffic helps no one, not the drivers, not businesses, not the residents of the area, and certainly not the environment.
Lyra Fiske is a resident of New Milford.